Nikkor AF-S 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G IF-ED VR - Review / Lab Test Report
Lens Reviews - Nikon / Nikkor (APS-C)
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Review by Klaus Schroiff, published December 2007


The Nikkor AF-S 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G IF-ED VR is a long awaited lens by many Nikon users. For a couple of years the community looked with envy towards Canon where even two good quality, slow speed tele zooms are available. Interestingly some product images of the Nikkor leaked into the web about a year ago but it seems as if the lens was either not ready at the time or the immensely popular AF-S 18-200mm VR blocked required resources. Well, speculations - only Nikon knows. Unlike most of the recently introduced Nikkors the AF-S 70-300mm VR is a full format lens but as usual we'll have a look how it performs on a Nikon D200. Within the APS-C DSLR scope its field-of-view is equivalent to 105-450mm.

By today´s standards in this class the lens is comparatively large and heavy. However, the build quality of the lens is also pretty decent without reaching pro grade Nikkors here. The outer construction is made of good quality plastics and a metal mount. As already reported by other users the inner lens tube is marginally loose but this is not unusual for a lens which extends significantly during zooming. Both the broad, rubberized zoom ring as well as the small focus ring operate smooth and even without being damped. The lens doesn't suffer from zoom creeping - at least not straight out-of-the-box. The Nikkor AF-S 70-300mm VR is a G-type lens so unlike its predecessors it does not offer an aperture ring anymore. A lens hood as well as a soft lens case are also part of the package.

The AF-S 70-300mm VR is the first high-speed Nikkor tele-zoom with a VR II (Vibration Reduction) offering an efficiency equivalent to 4 f-stops. The lens offers two VR modes - a "normal" mode for most situations inc. static scenes, object tracking as well as monopod shots whereas the 2nd "active" mode to compensate more pronounced vibrations (e.g. when shooting from a moving vehicle).
Thanks to an AF-S drive (Silent Wave Motor) the AF operations are nearly silent and quite fast. The front element does not rotate so using a polarizer remains easily possible.

Equiv. focal length105-450 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/6.8-f/8.4 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction17 elements in 12 groups inc. 2 ED elements
Number of aperture blades9 (rounded)
min. focus distance1.5 m (max. magnification ratio 1:4)
Dimensions80 x 144 mm
Weight745 g
Filter size67 mm (non-rotating)
HoodNikon HB-36, snap-on type, petal-shaped
Other featuresSilent wave AF motor. VR II (vibration reduction), effectivity equiv. to 4 f-stops. Normal and Active VR mode.

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